Title: Moonlight
Author/Artist: seinakyou
Character/Pairing: Hinted at Strauss/Stella, Stella
Fandom: Record of a Fallen Vampire
Theme: #45. Rings
Warnings: Sadness, fluff, I just made up Stella's back story

Stella's town burns before her eyes when she's very young. She remembers only fragments by this point, but there was a strong hand around her wrist, pulling her through wreckage and demanding that she hurry up, but little Stella is afraid and doesn't know what he's talking about. He drops her hands and some point, and she sits next to him for a few minutes before the wooden beam on top of him bursts into flame too, and she wants to touch but remembers mother's warning, don't touch the fire because it's pretty but it hurts you. So she doesn't reach out, she doesn't try to touch it, she just scrabbles over a corpse and a pretty dress that looks like something you'd wear for a wedding and into the open village.

It's hazy from there, but all she can remember is how unbelievably pretty the vampires are in the moonlight, and she doesn't understand it but she thinks they're angels, angels who have come to save them all.

She's taken in by another family, and they're very nice. Very nice, but very wary, wary of the red haired child who is the only one who survived the brutal slaughter of her town, the one who's said to have walked up to their great general and tugged on the bottom of his cloak and lived.

What a strange child, cursed child, child of great omens for good and evil.

This village is wiped out, too, but not by attacks this time, rather by a flood that surges up from the sea and sweeps over everything, drowning the carrots and the zucchini and the babies and their parents and everyone else, everyone but little Stella who is found on a cot, floating along lazily while holding a doll that isn't actually one.

Everyone asks her why, how she survived, but she looks down at the blue child in her arms and smiles with her secret because the moon saved her, the moon it was, she swears, but she can't remember where she got the hair ties now at the end of her pigtails.

She's about seven by this point, because she knows that every summer passes and the day snow first falls is the day she ages a little, and apparently someone else knows it because every year, no matter where she is, she gets a little gift: some candies, a silver rose, a kitten. But she never figures out who sends them, who is following her.

Her new parents are worried by this too, say someone is targeting her, but that just makes her feel special and when she tells them this, they get shifty eyed and sullen and make the sign of the witch and mutter 'demon child, child of calamity' but she doesn't even know what this means.

This time, it's just her house. It was (accidentally) set fire to by the local church, who swore that Stella was unnatural and wicked and quite supernatural and that she needed to die to save her soul. The moon leered down at them as they prayed for her liberation, but also for the strength to kill her two innocent parents who must've been under her spell.

It doesn't make sense, again, but Stella isn't very bright and only knows that her saviour will come again, as he always does, her guardian angel that makes sure she's always safe and his hair is the same colour as hers in this light, and she escapes unharmed and is spirited off by the man with his face covered to another village, another place, another life and suddenly Stella realizes that he must be her very own guardian angel, hers alone because he always saves her.

By the time she turns ten, she realizes that not everything is good and happy, but that's okay because everyone has a guardian angel to save them and if they're not saved, it's because they're just going somewhere better on the wings of their protector, and this carries her through the days in the fields where the kids throw stones at her and call her names.

Bandits, this time. Stella wishes she could keep track of all the ways her towns have died, but she can't write and no one is willing to teach the devil anything. They're very big men, in shiny bright armour reflecting in the moonlight and swords that have killed the people on either side of her, who tried to protect her even though they'd been insulting her previously, and that makes her smile. Not that they're dead, but that they really were good people. She looks up with big sleepy eyes at the leader and gives him a gap toothed smile, and he grins in a very disturbing way and grabs her wrist and lifts her up. He stares into her eyes and she yawns and he breaths on her, and it smells like pork and smoke and tobacco, and he declares that this little girl was going to be their pet once the men had all finished, but he never finishes because a blur of silver flashes in front of her eyes and the man's grip loosens gently, but that's probably because his hand isn't attached to his arm anymore.

Stella grins when he howls and the silver blur snarls, because this is her angel, so she sits back and laughs as his head comes off and the others try, and fail to flee.

He doesn't take her with him this time, but that's good because when a merchant passes by, she's laughing so hard she's crying so he just assumes that she only barely survived, and never notices how she's untouched by anything but tears.

By the time she's twelve, she's a maid in a wealthy man's household. It's certainly an odd job, but mostly because she's the only one who laughs anymore, besides their master, but she can't understand why they wouldn't laugh, considering the fact that they went to entertain him nightly and they had to be bright and happy to make him bright and happy, but they always look tired and more often than not, a new one is sent away and another arrives.

He tries to get her to entertain him, but she always smiles sweetly and says that she's not funny, and he always laughs and walks away leaving her puzzled.

She figures out what entertain actually means one night when he presses her up against a window, the moon at her back, smelling like whiskey and sweat, and his lips finds a place on hers and she thinks that this isn't very entertaining, and starts to cry.

This doesn't stop him, and a hand reaches up her leg to her upper thigh, and she squirms and tries to yelp but no sound comes out.

Her angel doesn't take very long, but this time he doesn't do anything but show up and the man falls to the floor in respect or fear or praise of the heavens as he stammers out that he'll never try anything on her again and she doesn't dare look at the angel's face, because that would probably kill her.

She switches jobs the very next month, the same time her master is taken away on charges of something that didn't make sense to her.

When she's fourteen, she's figured out what desire is, but only knows what it feels like to have it directed on you. She is unfailingly sweet and kind to everyone, because they all deserve a chance, and this makes some turn their heads or keep their gaze longer than they really should. But that doesn't matter, because they don't hold a candle to her angel, her protector, who she's figured out must be her one true love.

In her youth, Stella thinks maybe he's god.

She was proposed to once, but her parents declined because they had nothing to give as a dowry. She was very puzzled – what is marriage, anyways? – but her parents decided that she didn't need to know anything and simply sent her to make dinner for them, because they both couldn't see, though she wasn't sure.

That night, her angel came in through the window, slipping in against the streams of light teasing her curtains and she pretends to be asleep when he finally speaks, sitting next to her on her bed and muttering that she'll always be special to him, beyond her knowledge and she falls in love with the voice and the fingertips that brush her hair out of her face and the lips that press onto her forehead. He's gone as quickly as he came.

She tries to learn to read when she's sixteen, by a poster stuck up on a tree in the middle of town. However, as much as she tries, she can't find meaning in the exquisite brush strokes and careful handwriting and the sloping lines that look like trees and the moon and animals, so beautiful that she fears they won't stay on the page, but rather jump into the sky and dance away on the breeze.

She asks a man to tell her what it says, and he gives her a kind smile and says that it advertises a sale at a vegetable shop a few streets down. She beams at him and he blushes but she pays him no mind and rushes down the street to the market without noticing the storm brewing.

She gets there just in time to be closed in when the shop is struck by lightning, and she is reminded of the taunts of old directed at her, 'child of misfortune' and almost cries to think that it's true, but she tries very nobly to get all the people out. There are too many, and the cabbages and cucumbers and tomatoes are rolling of the ground as the wood around them crackles and burns and spits, so she herds out the children in her arms, stepping very carefully around them, and then directs the elderly out and then the women and then the shopkeeper, who was knocked unconscious by a watermelon falling no his head, but finds herself closed in with no more exits and absentmindedly slips on an eggplant and falls, not onto the ground but into someone's strong arms, someone who shines even as she loses consciousness, with eyes as deep as the sea and clear as a cold winter's night.

Beautiful, she thinks hazily before drifting off into the smell of smoke or ice and mint.

She decides to help out at a hospital once she turns eighteen, once she knows that her mother isn't actually weak or feeble, just hiding from the world that she's strong and amazing and working to fight the people who can't honestly be trying to help their village because it's tiny and out of the way and not even a part of their country.

So she sneaks into their army camp to plant a savage beast in their Grand General's tent and meets a beautiful, wonderful, silver-haired man with pretty eyes and kind manners and great strength, who smiles kindly at her and she can feel herself blushing after he helps her up, because he looks like the moonlight and has pretty eyes.

He's odd, he doesn't understand jokes, and he's extremely powerful but not scary at all, not to her, not the people he's trying to help, he's perfect in every way and she feels like he's very lonely.

So she blesses him, because no one really says them for powerful people, and then leaves him with a confused and hopeful look on his face, and says he shouldn't become too powerful because he's too kind and it will only end up hurting him.

She comes back the next day with another rather aggressive creature and asks the man who was skipping his work yesterday and who saved her and appeared in her dreams where the Grand General's tent was, only to be sheepishly informed that he was the Grand General.

She doesn't feel betrayed, just sad, because now she can't prank him and he'll be sad already, and now she needs to scold him for being so outrageous.. But he does have a very pretty name. Akabara Strauss. It's absolutely perfect.

"Miss… what is your name?" he asks her, because she thinks he honestly doesn't recognize her because last he saw, she was in a village halfway across the country. But that okay, she decides, because it's time for her to save him; save him from himself.

"Me? I'm…"

AN: No, I didn't use the actual lines from the manga at the very end... not at all... holy, this thing is long! Actually, I started writing, and it kind of turned into this, whatever it is. I wanted to have him give her a ring, but I liked ending it here, so it has very little connection to the prompt, but it's a prompt after all.

Yay! I wrote Stella~! Yeah, so tell me what you think, pretty please? I update this for you, my readers, so please tell what to do!

Or something.